Lean Methods Workshops

lean-methods-workshopsLean practices have a vast collection of tools, methods, and principles that all provide a level of understanding and potential improvement. Unfortunately, many people seem to become so focused on the means that they loose sight of the target or goal of introducing Lean practices to their organization. Einstein said, “perfection of means and confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.” This is perhaps no more the case than with Lean and process improvement tools!

We have worked with countless organizations that have become so enamored with the flash of new tools (for example, value stream mapping) that they have become captive to the tool and lost site of the ultimate target condition they are striving for! Our Lean Methods workshops are intentionally designed to create a vivid distinction between the tools (means) and the measurable objectives they are designed to achieve (ends). We explain the why, then the what, before we address the how!

Our Lean Methods workshops are hands-on interactive learning experiences that attendees can immediately apply when they return to their jobs. Adults learn best by doing and then by teaching core concepts to others, so we use a lot of exercises, role-play, and teach-back exercises to keep things moving and fun! People love to hear stories about other companies and what worked and what didn’t work – and why! Instead of offering an endless list of topics, we only teach those Lean skillsets that, in our experience, have proven to be the most impactful. What’s more, we only offer workshops in Lean topics we extensive boots-on-the-ground experience in.

Lean Leadership Workshop

1 or 2 Days

Leaders have always played a key role in clarifying the vision of the organization, influencing culture and modeling key behaviors. The impact of Leaders is magnified during the transformation to a higher performing company. Leaders and Managers need clarity on the role of a Lean leader, what to expect, and how to support the change they which to see in their organization. This workshop accomplishes that by provide a candid discussion of the topics that need to be deeply understood by Leaders in order to create and sustain positive change and measurable results.

Workshop Deliverables include:

  • Gain clarity around Lean leadership & Operational Excellence
  • Build awareness and participation among leaders and managers
  • Define Leadership and Ideal Behavior
  • Roles
  • Teacher/Coach
  • Active Participation
  • Clarify Expectations
  • Share a Roadmap
  • Call To Action!

After hosting this workshop in-house at their corporate headquarters, a recent client reported, “The CEO stopped me to say how much he appreciated it, and that the feedback received from the VP’s and Directors was excellent. They can’t wait to get started!”

Lean 101 – Lean Boot Camp (tailored for Business, Healthcare, or Manufacturing)

2 Days

This fun, high-energy, hands-on workshop is designed to provide your people with the knowledge and tools they need to begin their Lean journey. It takes the confusion out of continuous process improvement by stressing core concepts and timeless principles that provide clear direction and hands-on experience of what Lean is, why it’s essential, and what do people need to do to develop as problem solvers, support daily improvement, and actively drive your Lean transformation. The tools and methods are presented within the context of what Lean and process improvement is really all about and why it matters to everyone in the organization.

Workshop Deliverables include:

Build a shared understanding of core Lean concepts, tools, and methods
Begin to get people confortable with the challenges and changes of working with Excellence
Define roles and behavior required to build a Lean Enterprise
Train your people in the core tools and learning that everyone should experience
Now what? Next Steps for Tomorrow!

Topics Include:

  • Framing the Issue
  • Lean Overview
  • Quality & Waste
  • Waste, Flow & Variability
  • PDCA, A3 Thinking & the A3
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Problem Solving Tools
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Flow, Pull & JIT
  • Quality at the Source & Standard Work
  • Visual Management
  • Next Steps

Kaizen Work Session

3-5 Days

This is an experience your people will never forget – their first Kaizen! This session applies to core tools of Lean to a specific real-world problem and/or opportunity you are currently experiencing at your company. A cross-functional team of people is gathered together to learn and apply the core tools and methods of Lean to create measurable and sustainable improvement in your organization. The session is designed to grasp the current situation; identify contributing causes and root causes of the problem; develop potential countermeasures; and select, implement and measure impact; and identify next steps. The focus is on doing not on simply talking about the problem!

Topics Include:

  • Defining the Problem and/or Opportunity
  • Grasping the Current Situation
  • Understanding the Value Stream
  • Learning by Doing: The Kaizen Method of Process Improvement
  • Measuring the Impact
  • The Learning Loop
  • Reflection

Our clients consistently report that this approach of learning – addressing a real problem and pain point that everyone can identify with – brings the learning to life, stressed the practical nature of Lean, and makes it vividly real to the whole company.

Lean Problem Solving

1 Day

Perhaps the most important skill you need to develop in your people – Leaders, Managers, and Associates alike, is problem solving. Although most people claim to be good problem solvers, most organizations lack of common problem-solving methodology or the discipline to consistently apply it. One of the true gifts of Lean is PDCA – Plan-Do-Check-Act – or scientific problem solving. Unfortunately, the PDCA model is widely known but rarely understood or applied effectively. This workshop takes a deep dive into PDCA as well as several other effective problem-solving tools to provide attendees first-hand experience in using them to address real business problems. Attendees are asked to identify and bring real business problems they are wrestling with to the workshop, so they can apply the learning to their daily work.

Topics Include:

  • The Problem Solving Process
  • Cause & Effect
  • The Key Problem Solving Tools of Lean
  • Six Sigma
  • Continuous Improvement Challenges
  • Lessons Learned

Value Stream Mapping

2 to 3 Days (depending on the complexity of the process we are mapping)

Value Stream mapping is one of the most popular tools in the Lean toolkit, but it’s benefits are seldom realized by companies due to a lack of understanding of the why as mush as the how of the mapping process. A key benefit of value stream analysis is that it effectively focuses people on where improvement is needed and helps to identify specific opportunities for positive change. This workshop has your people up and out of their seats in about an hour as they actively build current and future state value-stream maps of a work process they own. Participants are either a supplier to, a customer of, or a work component of the value stream being analyzed. This fast-paced workshop delivers real benefits to the attendees as well as creates artifacts which can be shared with other members of the company.

Workshop Deliverables include:

  • Team-based value stream mapping learning and experience
  • Build a shared understanding of what is currently happening and what needs to change for the better
  • Identify creation and flow of value and where the system breaks down
  • Identify and prioritize challenges and improvement opportunities
  • Build team consensus on next steps
  • Build an action plan

Visual Management Systems


Visual management is one of the core work systems that drives key behaviors among teams and creates focus on what matters most. When effective Visual Management systems are in place, teams know whether they are winning or losing and whether things are getting better or worse. Until teams know the answers to these basic questions, they are literally working in the dark. The workshop requires the hands-on participation of attendees as we build a system for your work environment.

Topics include:

  • The Power of Visuals
  • Elements and Attributes of a Good System
  • Build I
  • Build II
  • Do’s & Don’ts
  • Going Forward

Standard Work


Standard Work is one of the most impactful and least used of all the Lean tools. It is known as a method that locks in the way people perform their work. This is true, but it is only part of the story. There is much more to be gained from standard work when people understand the real reason for using it and how to effectively build standard work. This workshop uses real-work examples and hands-on exercises to illustrate the power and impact of standard work for Associates working on the front lines, and for Leaders and Managers supporting them.

Without a standard, a shared agreement on how work gets done, improvement is difficult if not impossible since we do things differently every time. Standard work provides a baseline from which we can measure and improve performance.

Workshop Deliverables include:

Discover why standard work is essential to ongoing improvement efforts
Understanding the elements of effective standard work
Build standard work for your work systems
Learn how to apply standard work to embed new ways of doing the work in your workforce

Lean Performance Measurement


Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” In other words, “Tell me how you will measure me, and then I can tell you how I’ll behave.” The influence of measures in the workplace is undeniable. But often we measure the wrong things and unwittingly drive the wrong behaviors. This workshop explores the nature of performance measurement and describes how to identify and effectively measure those things that drive the behaviors you need from your people to achieve lasting results.

This workshop applies core learning concepts to your workplace and enlists active participation from attendees to build a measurement system designed to drive ideal behavior.

Topics include:

  • The Impact of Measurements
  • What We Measure Matters Most
  • Not All Indicators are Created Equal
  • Understanding Measurement
  • Apply the Learning
  • Next Steps